It’s human nature to want to simplify everything. Every new technology comes out with the goal of making something easier for the end user. In the development world, things are NOT simple. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of different languages you can use out there to develop your application. Over recent years, a push has begun to simplify this and make one language that can be used across every platform. That language is JavaScript. Let me explain:

With a bit of a stretch, we can categorize every application into three main categories. Each category has it’s set of languages that you would “traditionally” use.

1. Mobile Applications – The main platforms out there for mobile right now are obviously Android and iOS. For Android, native applications are written in Java. For iOS, native applications are written in Swift or the outdated Objective-C.

2. Web Applications – Oh man, where do I even begin? There are so many options. For you’re front end, you will definitely be using HTML, CSS and maybe JavaScript (jQuery included here). For your backend, you can use PHP, Python, .NET, Ruby on Rails, Node.JS, and many more.

3. Databases – Depending on your definition of “application”, I’m throwing databases in here. Depending on your use, you can use MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, NoSQL, or many others.

So where does JavaScript come into play, and why is it the most valuable language in the world?

First, we need to talk about Node.js. If you’re going to learn any back-end development language, learn Node. If you have never heard of it, Node.js is essentially JavaScript running server side. With Node, JavaScript becomes the first and only language that you can use on both the front-end (client side) and back-end (server side). Of the top 10 most starred frameworks on GitHub, four of the top ten are built on Node.js including the amazing Meteor.JS. This is more than any other language out there, making Node arguably the most popular back-end language out there. With Node and JavaScript’s ability to run client and server side, it’s safe to say JavaScript is the king of web development languages.

Now let’s talk about databases. There is no arguing MongoDB is the hottest thing in databases out there right now. While it is NOT the solution for everything, with a list of clients like this, it’s hard to say that Mongo isn’t here to stay. While it’s beyond the scope of this article as to why, Node.js and MongoDB go hand-in-hand just like PHP and MySQL do. You do not HAVE to use both of them together, but many developers do use Node.js with MongoDB. Chances are if you are going to use Node, you are going to learn MongoDB at some point.

Last but not least, it’s time to talk about mobile applications. Traditionally, three main languages will come to mind when talking about mobile applications: Java, Swift, and Objective-C. For developers, it has been extremely annoying to develop for mobile due to the two most popular platforms using different languages. JavaScript has begun to slowly close that gap. With Titanium SDK/Alloy Framework, it is now possible to write a NATIVE mobile application completely in JavaScript. Other options like PhoneGap make it possible to develop a mobile application without learning Swift or Java.

Whether you want a mobile or a web app, JavaScript is the only language out there that can be used across every platform. While a mobile app written in JavaScript might not be as good as one written in Swift/Java just yet, the gap is closing smaller and smaller every day. If you are looking to start to focus on one language, the future is looking brighter for JavaScript every day.